AAA Pitching Prospect Review

Heath Bell Gives Up Too Many Hits

The Norfolk Tides compiled a 67-76 record this season, with a fairly weak offense and a decent pitching staff.  This article will review the position prospects that played long enough in Norfolk to amass 15 IP.  If a player has made it to the majors for at least 15 IP, he will not be listed. (Free Preview of Premium Content at NYMfansonly.com)

Edwin Almonte – RH-RP
Age: 26

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

AAA

Norfolk

2.55

17.2

1.25

3.06

7.13

0.00

AAA

Charlotte

6.88

34

1.74

3.71

6.35

1.59



Acquired in the Alomar deal, Almonte's prospect status is a product of his 2002 season, in which he compiled a 1.85 ERA.  Other than that, he's been nothing special.  He normally has good command and a good changeup.  Everything seemed to fail him this year, though.  For a control pitcher, he walked far too many batters.  Edwin is barely a prospect anymore.

Heath Bell – RH-RP
Age: 26

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

AAA

Norfolk

4.71

49.2

1.25

1.45

9.79

0.72



Bell is your typical relief prospect – he has a decent fastball and decent slider.  What is unusual about him is his peripherals.  He has excellent walk and strikeout rates, but has given up a lot of hits.  Since his promotion to Binghamton in 2001, Bell has given up too many hits, so it's a pattern by now.  Unless he turns it around in a hurry, Heath will be stuck as a AAA reliever.

Jake Joseph – RHP
Age: 25

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

AAA

Norfolk

5.93

71.1

1.65

2.65

5.30

0.76

AA

Binghamton

5.57

53.1

1.56

2.53

5.06

0.84



Jake Joseph has a good slider and decent fastball.  He's been a starter through most of the minors, but was converted to the bullpen for Norfolk.  This was a pretty lousy year, as his lack of strikeouts caught up to him.  He has very good control, with a very low walk rate, but Joseph gave up lots of hits.  If he doesn't learn how to strike more batters out, he'll most likely never cut it in the majors.  At best, he projects to be a middle reliever, but for now, he needs to go back to Norfolk and learn how to miss bats.

Orber Moreno – RH-RP
Age: 26

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

AAA

Norfolk

1.90

52

1.04

3.12

9.87

0.17



Moreno dominated the IL as well as anybody could ever ask.  Once a top prospect in the Royals' system, Moreno has come back from surgery with a bang.  Combine few walks and homeruns, and lots of strikeouts, and you've got the basics of a good pitcher.  The Mets seem to be very high on him, so expect to see him stay in the majors next year.  He has an outside chance at becoming the Mets' closer for the next few years.

Tyler Yates – RHP
Age: 26

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

AAA

Norfolk

4.05

20

1.55

4.05

6.75

0.45

AA

Binghamton

4.35

39.1

1.27

3.89

8.24

0.92

A+

St. Lucie

4.31

48

1.35

4.50

9.19

0.94



The Mets decided to try Yates as a starter this season.  This seems like an odd decision, given Yates' age, success as a reliever, and his recent return from Tommy John surgery.  Whether it was resulting from starting, or from the surgery, Yates struggled this year.  His control wasn't sharp, and he didn't miss nearly as many bats as he normally does.  He'll need at least another full season in the minors to acclimate to being a starter, if he ever does.  Watch his control and strikeouts next year…those normally get better as a pitcher recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Be sure to check out the AAA Position Prospect Review to see how the hitting prospects fared this year.

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